Monday, February 25, 2019

Oh My Stars!

Can I just say how much Cosmo and I are loving being empty nesters?  It's not like we didn't have a life before KJ left for college, but the focus was different.  Most things we did were centered around KJ.  Now we're doing things I want to do or have an interest in.  And it's about damn time.  I'm not a martyr or anything but years of school class trips, lacrosse stuff, volleyball games, dance stuff have taken it's toll. 

We had such a fun weekend which started with Margaritas and Fajita's Friday night in honor of #NationalMargaritaDay.  I walked in the door from work and Cosmo had a pitcher of ice cold Margaritas waiting for me!  Love that man! 

Saturday's weather was perfect.  A little cool and breezy but very sunny!  Saturday the Stars played the Carolina Hurricanes at home at 4 PM so we checked into our hotel and Uber'd over to the AAC in plenty of time to watch the team warm-up.  That was the first time I Uber'd anywhere.  Go me!  The game itself was horrible and the Stars lost 0-3.  Bish was in the net after missing 6 games due to an upper body injury.  First time he was in the net since February 4. I personally prefer Anton "Dobby" Khudobin in between the pipes. 
 

We bought tickets a couple of weeks ago for Bert Kreischer's Body Shots tour Saturday night at the Majestic Theater.  We first became aware of Bert the Conqueror from his Travel Channel show.  And then we realized he had a comedy act www.bertbertbert.com  OMG  He is absolutely raw and absolutely hysterical.  So, from the Stars game we Uber'd over to the Majestic and laughed our butts off.  After the show we walked to dinner at Campisi's and then walked over to our hotel. 

Once we got home Sunday morning we just chilled and cleaned out the laundry room (you know, moved the washer and dryer out, vacuumed back there, cleaned out the dryer vent, etc.).  So exciting.  I also had a huge basket of unmatched socks and tried to match them up while watching the Stars play the Blackhawks in Chicago.  The Stars won 4-3 and Dobby was back in the net! 

Another great weekend in the books! 

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Stuff Dreams are Made Of

My sleep struggles are well documented.  And this week was awful.  My usually pitiful night-time routine was repeatedly disrupted and I suffered for it.

Last week I made a super quick 1-night trip to Birmingham to go to Fleetwood Mac concert with KJ.  Originally KJ, Dew and T-bone bought the tickets months and months ago with the intention of KJ driving in from Ox to spend the night with her sister in Birmingham.  Then, T-bone moved to Denver.  And KJ was bound and determined to go the BJCC solo.  And I really didn't want her to go to the concert by herself so I flew in Wednesday afternoon and flew back to Dallas Thursday. 


Fleetwood Mac was amazing and we had incredible floor seats.  There was no opening band, the group came out and played for over 2 hours and did a beautiful tribute to Tom Petty as one of their encores.  I'm not a huge Fleetwood Mac fan, more of a Stevie Nicks fan because, um, hello, it's Stevie Nicks and she's a goddess.  But Fleetwood Mac delivered one helluva show.  So by the time we got back to our hotel I was pretty wired and couldn't fall asleep.  And then I had a late flight back to DFW and didn't land until 9:30 PM and couldn't fall asleep when I got home.  I was soooo overtired. 

And then I had my very first MOD (Manager on Duty) weekend.  And I was a nervous wreck.  What if there's a guest emergency?  What if there's a problem with the building's mechanics (i.e., HVAC issues, pool filter, hot water heater, internet, etc?).  What if there are associate issues?  I worked myself into a tizzy.  I had to be at the hotel from 5 PM Friday to 12 noon on Sunday.  Cosmo had dinner with me Friday night but didn't stay at the hotel with me because he had been traveling all week and was suffering from a head cold.  He just wanted to be home in bed, not in another hotel room.  He was such a trooper and he accompanied me while I did my evening rounds that first night.  And then of course I couldn't fall asleep Friday night.  Because what if . . . .

So Saturday I checked in with all departments, did a few things in the Sales Office and had lunch.  I tried to take a nap in my room but just couldn't.  Because what if . . . .  Saturday night I feel asleep for a bit but didn't sleep long enough or fall into deep enough REM.  Because what if . . . .

By Sunday I was so freaking exhausted and it had really taken a toll on my psyche and my skin.  I had horrible bags under my eyes, I was terribly dehydrated and I looked like the damn crypt keeper. 
 

I was definitely on the struggle bus all week and last night I was able to finally give my skin some much needed attention.  Thank God I have a husband who understands my messed up sleep cycles because when I got home from work he had dinner ready and told me to go take a bath and try to relax.  Twist my arm.  You don't have to tell me twice. 

I've been hearing a lot about overnight face masks and at first I thought I wouldn't want anything too heavy on my face overnight that could clog pores. Burt's Bees has an "Hydrating Overnight Mask, Origin's has the "Drink Up Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask with Avocado & Swiss Glacier Water" (sounds fancy!), Korean beauty brand Glow Recipe has the "Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask," and I really want to try Fresh's "Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask." 

One day while roaming around Target,  I found "Wake Up Beautiful Super Hydration Sleepover Mask" by Pacifica.  I've seen this brand at Target many times as well as Whole Foods but didn't really know much about it.  I did a quick but all important in-store smell test and threw the tube in my cart.  I.  Love.  This.  Stuff.  It's just right.  Not too thick or sticky, not thin.  Absorbs quickly, smells heavenly and leaves my skin soft and refreshed in the morning.  I look and feel well rested. 

 
 

Another awesome Target find is the Pixi brand of SkinTreats.  I've been using the Glow Peel Pads once or twice a week for a couple of years now and love how refreshed my skin feels after. 
 
Last night I also used the Overnight Glow Serum before I used the Pacifica Wake Up Beautiful  Super Hydration Sleepover Mask and I feel like I pushed the re-set button on my skin.  In addition to sleeping great last night (thank you Dr. Teal's Soothe & Sleep Pure Epsom Salt Soak with Lavender!), I woke up to fabulous skin! 


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

You (yes! You!)

***Spoilers Ahead***

Have you watched "You" available now on Netflix?  It stars Penn Badgley of "Gossip Girl" fame and begs the question:  "What would you do for love?"  For a brilliant male bookstore manager (Badgley) who crosses paths with an aspiring female writer named Beck, this question is put to the test. A charming yet awkward crush becomes something even more sinister when the writer becomes the manager's obsession. Using social media and the internet, he uses every tool at his disposal to become close to her, even going so far as to remove any obstacle --including people -- that stands in his way of getting to her. 


"You" originally aired on Lifetime in September 2018 and on Netflix in December 2018 internationally and is based off the 2014 novel by Caroline Kepnes.  Lifetime announced that "You" had been renewed for a second season based on Kepnes' follow-up novel Hidden Bodies, on July 26, 2018, ahead of the series premiere. On December 3, 2018, it was announced that the series would move to Netflix as a "Netflix Original" title, ahead of the premiere of the second season.


There are 10 episodes in season one and I love the way the series is filmed with Badgley providing running commentary.  As a mom of two daughters I am constantly on my kids about over-sharing and internet safety and keeping the damn mini-blinds closed!  I have a 24-year old and a 19-year old and every week I remind them about being aware of their surroundings, letting some one know where you are, who you're with, where you're going next, etc.  As the series progesses and the storyline develops, it's easy to see how Joe keeps tabs on Beck and how Beck puts the pieces together when she finally starts to have doubts about Joe.  These two use Google, Facebook and Instagram like nobody's business. 

Badgley is convincingly creepy good as Joe.  He's the kind, thoughtful, good-looking boyfriend every girl would love to date.  But I just couldn't stand the portrayal of Beck by Elizabeth Lail.  What a dipshit.  Seriously.  Beck has serious daddy issues and I just can't believe her Spidey senses weren't exploding.  Hell, her Spidey senses were barely even tingling.  All she worried about was getting laid on the Staten Island Ferry.  Her boyfriend (Benji) conveniently "disappears" and ghosts everyone he knows but is somehow posting stuff as if he was on vacation.  Where the hell are his parents, anyway?  Then, she discovers that Joe's former love interest, Candace, has also "disappeared."  And Candace's side piece, her music manager, mysteriously dies.  And Candace's brother (who is in a mental institution) dies.  Oh!  And let's not forget Beck's best friend, Peaches (played by Pretty Little Liars alum, Shay Mitchell).  And then, the abusive alcoholic boyfriend of the single mom who lives next door to Joe dies a violent death. 

Ethan is one of Joe's co-workers at the bookstore who is eternally optimistic about love and life.  And at first I really liked Ethan's character.  Then I got really aggravated with Ethan.  C'mon Ethan.  You know something "dark" happened between Joe and Candace and you know old man Mooney is definitely not asking any questions about payroll or any other day-to-day operations of the bookstore.  And, you work at the bookstore but never ever go down to the storage area in the basement??? 

Which brings me to my disappointment in Paco.  Paco is Joe's young next door neighbor with an addict mom who has an abusive boyfriend.  Paco gets supplies to eliminate Benji's body (rope, fertilizer, etc).  And Paco knows that Joe killed the mom's boyfriend.  And, Paco literally slams the door on Beck's face as she's frantically fighting for her life to get out of the basement.  I understand Joe's been the only one in Paco's corner and Paco idolizes him, but I'm glad Paco and his mom moved out of state.  I think he could have easily been a psychopath in the making.  However, season two hints that Joe may be relocating to California. Isn't that where Paco and his mom are headed???

And now on to the best part of the whole series . . . . Mr. John Stamos! 


Stamos plays "Dr. Nicky," Beck's good-looking, weed-smoking therapist.  Joe gets jealous of their relationship and starts therapy sessions with Dr. Nicky to get some intel on Beck.  Turns out Joe had plenty to be jealous of as Beck is definitely doing the horizontal hula with Dr. Nicky.  When Beck finally discovers what Joe's been up to these last couple of months and he locks her up in the basement, they conspire to place the blame squarely on Dr. Nicky's shoulders.  We are left to believe that Joe kills Beck as the series ends with a slo-mo montage of a body in a blue tarp being dug up, Dr. Nicky being carted off by the police with blue lights blaring and mild-mannered book store manager Joe just going about his daily business sweeping up the store, etc. 

Except I don't think Beck is dead.  While he's keeping her in the basement he clearly tells her, "Beck.  You're not listening to me.  I would never hurt anyone I loved."  From what we've seen, this appears to be true.  He hated her boyfriend Benji, he hated her friend Peaches, he hated Ron the abusive parole officer, he hated Candace's side piece.  However, he loved Candace (who shows up on Joe's doorstep in the closing scene), he cared for Karen (the rebound girlfriend after Beck broke up with him), he cared for Paco and his mother and he obviously "loved" Beck. 

While we're all anxiously awaiting Season 2, I read some tidbits about what we can expect:
  • We know that Penn Badgley is going to return in the lead role of Joe Goldberg, but as of yet it’s unconfirmed whether any other characters we saw in the first season will join him. However given the body count of the first ten episodes, it’s likely that new characters will be brought in for the next season.
  • It’s currently up in the air whether John Stamos will reappear as therapist Dr. Nicky. Last we saw Nicky was in prison, after being framed for several of Goldberg’s murders, but while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Sera Gamble has expressed interest in him returning: “It’s too soon to say definitely whether John Stamos will return in season two but we have been talking a lot about the character and we’re excited to keep telling that story.”
  • Netflix has confirmed that Victoria Pedretti (who played Nell in The Haunting of Hill House) will appear in season two of You as the female lead. She’ll play a character called Love Quinn, who’s an aspiring chef. 
  • Deadline has reported that the second season of the show will follow bookstore manager Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) “as his search for love takes him to Hollywood where dreams can be made or shattered." 
  • Gamble also revealed that loose ends from Goldberg’s past could return: “Without giving away too much, Joe thinks he’s gone out there by himself [Laughs]. So we can say that with like an ellipsis at the end of the sentence. He’s definitely trying to make a little bit of a left turn in his life. But you know, it’s really fun when a character makes plans right ’cause then you can just go blow them all.” Gamble went on to explain that there’ll be an aspect of Goldberg outrunning his past in his trip to LA, saying: “There’s an aspect of trying to outrun his past and also trying to stop and fix some things and seek some different things for his future.”  Gamble elaborated on this, saying: “If you look at every act of violence that he does in season one, that is potentially something that could come back and bite him.” Gamble added: “Part of the fun of continuing the story is that the loose ends from Joe’s past are still dangling and could come back to him at anytime. He is very worried about the fact that Peach Salinger’s family has hired people to investigate her alleged suicide, and there is evidence potentially still at her house from season one.
  • Gamble has also told The Hollywood Reporter that Joe’s past, and in particular the abuse he received from mentor Mr. Mooney, will be further explored in the next season: “Joe was taken in by a guy who had a certain type of life philosophy that really did rub off on Joe. Joe was already a teenager by the time he even met Mr. Mooney. There’s a lot more to explore about Joe from earlier in his life. Those are the things we’re starting to get into for season two.”
  • So what is the deal with Mr. Mooney?  Joe’s mentor is presented as something of a hard-edged, overwhelmingly strict, and even abusive foster father. While it’s heavily hinted that this upbringing had a huge effect on how Joe himself sees the world (and acts out his fantasies), a second season could shed more light on that upbringing itself, and maybe even what caused Mooney himself to become so vicious. 
  • Let's talk about Candace.  Joe’s ex-girlfriend Candace (Ambyr Childers) appeared in his bookstore and tells him they have unfinished business, so we can expect to find out more of what happened between them.  Throughout the season it was heavily implied that she is dead (and most likely killed by Joe, when he found out she was having an affair with her record producer), but her arrival in the dying seconds of season one was a wild deviation from the source material, and a total heel-turn for the narrative.
  • Throughout the first season Joe maintained that Candace was in Italy, showing her Instagram account to Beck to convince her she was alive; but given the season finale this may not be true.Was she supposed to be dead? Did she really go to Italy all along? Does she know what Joe did, and is continuing to do?
  • Is that piss pot gonna cause a problem?  The private investigator hired to investigate Peach’s death revealed to Dan towards the end of season one that they had found a jar of the suspect’s urine at the site, and were having it DNA tested. Unlike most of the situations Joe got himself in in season one, there’s little he can do to wrap this one up – the pot’s already been bagged as evidence. How will he get out of this one? Pissing in a jar in someone’s house is more than a little suspicious, let alone the day before they die…
  • Are Beck’s remaining friends not suspicious?  Look, it’s fairly clear that they’re a bit… slow on the uptake.  They are self-absorbed and a little more than slightly pretentious but there’s gotta be at least an inkling of suspicion surrounding Joe.  Joe, who entered their friendship group shortly before the death of two of their closest friends?  And, as far as we’re shown, they all seem a little unfazed by the whole thing?  It’ll be interesting to see whether season two brings up any more suspicion amongst the remaining members of Beck’s friendship group.
The first season of You left plenty of threads hanging – and that's exactly what we want from a second run.



 


 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Blondes having more fun???

Being a Bachelor novice, I had no idea there was a thing referred to as the "Blond-Out."  It usually occurs halfway through each season of The Bachelor, when the fun goes away and things get serious. At the beginning, there are almost 30 women and the Bachelor must pretend interest in all of them while going on goofy dates and trying to stir up drama. By the end, there are only a handful of women left standing and the Bachelor struggles to give each meaningful time as he decides on who he wants to wife-up.   

It's called the "Blond-Out" because at the beginning the Bachelor acts like he’s looking for love with women of all races, creeds and hair color.   By the end, all pretensions have faded away; the Bachelor has looked deep within his soul and has realized that he just wants to pick the girls he’s most attracted to.  Which is OK and I'm not sure why everyone's dogging Colton on this.  He's attracted to Blondes.  So what?  That's usually how relationships start.  With attraction.  You're attracted to someone for some reason.  It may be their height, it might be you find their sense of humor attractive.  You might find something attractive about their physique.  You might find their mind attractive.  It's that first spark.  And if Colton's not attracted to Sydney (who was a bit of a downer) or Nicole because she lacks self-confidence or Oneka (spelling?) because she caused some drama, is it really his fault?  Would it be OK if he was only attracted to red-haired, one-eyed, left-handed girls under 5 ft tall? 

There appears to be some confusion as to whether this season is to be considered a "Total Blond-Out" given the fact that Tayshia has blond highlights and is full-on blond in her Instagram avi.  But, for all intents and purposes, let's just rule her a non-blond (let's just agree to consider women with brunette hair who have gone ombre as blond. For example, Kirpa has natural black hair but has dyed it primarily blond). 

Only one blond woman was eliminated this week, and it was the one all of Twitterverse was divided on.  Demi.  Cute, little Demi from Texas.  Demi with the convict mom.  Aggressive Demi.  Yes folks, Demi is gone.  Felled by either her own hubris or Colton’s inability to see greatness. I'm thinking it was the former.  That girl was bound and determined to take Colton's V-card. 

Demi didn’t get into any hijinks this week or make any snarky comments about the ages of the other contestants (because let's face it.  All the old ladies were gone already.  It was past their bed time).  She let Colton talk to her newly-released-from-prison-mom on the phone (which was weird but sweet.  She clearly loves her mom).  Demi then later told Colton she was “falling in love” with him. While some folks are blasting Colton for his reaction to this, I think it was smart to let her know they were not on the same page.  So he immediately sent her home (which kinda stinks because it's a long flight home from Vietnam and she left in the middle of the night during a thunder storm).   

Many have said that Colton’s getting the formula of this Bachelor thing wrong. He’s supposed to eliminate women as he gets closer to finding the person he wants to propose to. What formula?  Maybe some of these viewers have watched one too many seasons and have become jaded?  Maybe I'm looking at this with fresh eyes? 

In back-to-back weeks, Colton is the one who has gotten dumped rather than doing the dumping.  Last week, Elyse left Colton because she felt she wasn’t getting enough one-on-one time after a strong start.  Sydney left because, among other things, she felt Colton was making “easy choices” instead of picking women who were actually interested in getting married to him.  My only issue with Sydney is that rather than take the high road and wish everyone well, she decided to label the remaining contestants as "shiny objects."  I thought that was a bit much coming from a Knicks dancer.  To me, it came across as Sydney was a bit jealous that she didn't have that spark (or sparkle) to capture Colton's eye.  Which is ironic considering she's a dancer for the NBA.  Doesn't she have to have some spark on the court???

According to Wikipedia’s Bachelor season summaries, 11 women voluntarily left the show over the course of the last 10 seasons. Usually one woman leaves per season but Colton's already lost two. But going even deeper, the timing is worrisome. Like Colton, Ben Higgins lost two women on his season, but they both left by Week 3. Six of the 11 self-inflicted departures came in the first three weeks.

I get it.  A woman auditions for the show for whatever reason, gets cast, gives it a shot, and then realizes they hate cameras, would rather be with their family/friends/dog, and goes home. Or, if they are like me, they would have tapped out the minute they heard they were going to Singapore and Vietnam.  The humidity would have killed me.  No lie.  My hair would have been a hot mess, my make-up would have slid right off my face and the boob sweat would not have been pretty.  If the producers handed me a ticket to Singapore, I would have instanteously replied, "Yeah.  No thanks.  That's not gonna happen.  Good luck Colton!" 

Colton has lost women in Weeks 5 and 6—well over a month into his relationships with them, over halfway through the season. Only one Bachelor has lost a contestant after Week 6, as Colton did—Juan Pablo, who was ditched by Sharleen and Andi within the final four episodes. From what I've heard, Juan Pablo is considered The Worst Bachelor. With capital letters just like that. 

These girls are not only dumping Colton, they are messing with his head.  When Sydney walked off, she told Colton that he might be in trouble because some of the remaining women were “not ready” for marriage. Colton explained to the camera that he thought she meant Demi, so then he went and dumped Demi. But then Demi told Colton the same thing as she was leaving.  And then after eliminating Katie in the rose ceremony (who came out of NO WHERE this week!  I swear to God, I had never seen that girl before last night!!!), she said the same thing. Colton is now officially flabbergasted and sputtering “Am I fucking missing something?” to the camera as he tries to figure out who the unready one is.

I'm guessing Hannah B is one of the ones "not ready" for marriage.  I also think Heather (who has now been kissed) is the next to go home.  She doesn't bring anything to this relationship.  Hannah B started out by forgetting how to use her big girl words by turning a simple toast into a minute-long self-destruction which ended with a #RollTide. Since then, she has learned that she’s quite capable of communicating nonverbally. She has beaten up several opponents (all during sanctioned fights, don’t worry) and now it’s become clear that her favorite form of communication is unhinging her jaw and emitting a whispery shriek, like a wild animal. She refers to it as the Hannah Beast.

In other, exciting news, Colton and my girl Hannah G went on a spa date where they were wrapped up in large leaves which caused Colton to make the awkward joke "I'd eat that sushi."  Hannah's doing great.  She's made herself noticed, in a good way, and is staying out of the drama.  I've said it before but I'm really proud of the way she's handling herself.  She's not desperate or showy and is just letting this thing evolve.  Good for her! 


The mystery of how Kirpa suddenly showed up last week with an unexplained bandage on chin has been explained.  Nothing nefarious, it turns out she fell while trying to take a selfie.  This is the second time this season that an episode has left an obvious mystery unsolved—the first being whether or not Bri ever told Colton about her fake Australian accent.  I thought she was so cute and would have gone a lot farther than she did!  I guess Bri didn't realize there was a "formula" to this show.  But what do I know? 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Another Female First !!!

2019 has been a great year so far for breaking down barriers and crushing records! 
 
Coach keeps up with our alma mater's sports team much more than I do and he's been in awe of this student-athlete since she first burst on the scene as a middle-schooler.  The girl has wheels and is definitely going places (in life, not just on the track).  Remember this 16-year old's name:  Katelyn Tuohy.  
 
 
She began setting age-group records in the 7th grade, retiring marks set by earlier high school phenom, Mary Cain.  Here are some highlights of Katelyn's incredible career to date: 
  • By the 2019 indoor track season, she had won four Gatorade Player of the Year awards and was the 2018 Track and Field News High School Girls Athlete Of The Year.
  • She first took 32 seconds off the historic Van Cortlandt Park course record, in the Bronx, with 13:21 for the 2 1/2 mile/4 kilometer event.
  • She won the 2017 Nike National cross country championship as a sophomore, to cap an undefeated season. With a 5,000 meter time of 16:44.7, she won by 40 seconds, trimming 12 seconds off the race. The Rockland County legislature honored her victory, declaring December 19, 2017, as "Katelyn Tuohy Day."
  • She became the fastest US outdoor high school 3,200-meter runner of all-time, running 9:47.88.
  • She also set the U.S. national junior (under-20) indoor 5,000-meter record. On January 21, 2018, Tuohy ran 15:37.12 to become the best ever female indoor 5,000-meter high school runner. Her 9:09.71 for 3,000 meters, run in June 2018, is the second fastest U.S. outdoors time ever in the country by a high school girl.
  • On June 17, 2018, at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals Track & Field championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, Tuohy won the mile by over 15 seconds breaking Polly Plumer's 36-year high school outdoor mile record with a 4:33.87.
  • On September 22, 2018, at the Ocean State Invitational, Tuohy ran the fastest American girls cross country 5K ever with a time of 16:06.87, lowering the course record by 88 seconds, and leading her team to victory.  Her time clipped almost 17 seconds from Katie Rainsberger's 2016 best-ever high school girls' standard on any course, running faster than all but one of over 1,000 high school boys running the sandy course, that day.  
  • On October 19, her 16:45.4 broke her own Bowdoin course record, set in 2017 while winning the state federation championship. The next fastest girl ran 19:07.9.
  • On November 23, she won the 5K New York State XC Championship/Nike NY Regionals, in 17:14.0, by over 40 seconds. 
  • On December 1, 2018, despite her missing her state section championship race with knee tendonitis, a few weeks earlier, she repeated as Nike's Cross Nationals Individual Champion. Notwithstanding muddy conditions, she set a new course record time of 16:37.8.
  • On January 26, 2019, finishing third in the 3,000, against seven pros, she broke another high school indoor record with 9:01.81.
  • During her sophomore year in 2017-2018, she won both the Gatorade Female Cross Country Player of the Year award and the Gatorade Female Track & Field Player of the Year award, making her the first athlete ever to capture the award in two sports, then she won the overall Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year award. Her photo was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, that summer. 
  • In October 2018, she was honored as the Track and Field News High School Girls Athlete Of The Year.
  • In 2019, she repeated as the Gatorade female cross country awardee for her undefeated 2018 season.
  • In a move that surprised no one, Gatorade honored junior Tuohy again February 7, 2019 naming her its U.S. high school girls cross-country runner of the year for the second straight year.
  • The 16-year-old repeated this fall as New Balance Cross Nationals girls champion
  • She also broke the national record for a high school girl running a 3.1-mile cross-country race on grass. Her record-setting time was 16:06.87, run at the Ocean State Invitational in Rhode Island.


Amanda Turak, manager of Gatorade's player of the year program, characterized Tuohy as unique due to the "unbelievable amount of passion and humbleness she has."  And Tuohy cited teammates, family, school trainers and coaches for helping her, saying "everyone had been a piece of the puzzle in getting this award."
 
The Gatorade award is based on achievements, as well as academics and character. Gatorade, which launched the player of the year program in 1985, had previously never awarded more than two player-of-the-year awards to a single individual.
 
Tuohy grinned when asked about being the first three-time member.  "Making history is definitely something special, so I think it's one of the most, you know, coolest things, I guess you can say, I've ever done," she said. 
 
Tuohy, who carries an "A" average, was honored in North Rockland High School's library in front of a crowd that included administrators, coaches, multiple members of the boys and girls cross-country and track teams, and her parents, Denise and Patrick, and brother, Ryan, 11.  Her parents smiled when asked about their daughter's growing enormous collection of trophies, medals and other running awards. Her dad noted he has built shelves in her bedroom to house the lion's share.

Tuohy would like the collection to grow. A video was shown of some of her wins and of her intense cross-training (she swims and works out with weights, in addition to running). Tuohy said after seeing the video, "I had little chills going up and down my spine and it makes me want to go out and train harder."
"After getting (the Gatorade award) this cross-country season, I definitely want to work hard this upcoming track season and next cross-country season and hopefully win again," Tuohy said. 
Her spring track coach, Kyle Murphy, who was on hand, said the most surprising thing about Tuohy has been her consistency. He attributed that to her work ethic, adding, "I don't see that stopping."
Currently in the middle of a winter track season that has seen her break the U.S. girls indoor 3,000 standard-track mark, Touhy was also Gatorade’s female high school track & field performer last year.
 
North Rockland girls cross-country and winter track coach Brian Diglio had worried about how Tuohy would respond this fall to essentially competing against her previous accomplishments.
“Every time she raced she was being compared to her sophomore campaign,” he said. “I was really proud of what she did this year. More than anything else, she showed maturity.”
 
Diglio pointed to Tuohy winning her second Nike Cross title, saying his and Tuohy’s first reaction to that was “just a big sense of relief.”  “To handle that the way she did, I was super proud,” he said. “It was every bit as hard, if not harder, to win this year.”  Of her undefeated season, he added, “Not only do you need talent and drive but you also need good health and for everything to go in your favor.”
 
But Tuohy went undefeated despite knee tendinitis that kept her out of the Section 1 Class A Championships. Her team, though, still won the team title to qualify for States, where Tuohy repeated as individual champion.  She said the knee injury was a "little battle mentally and physically." With all the wins and records she accumulated in the fall, Tuohy said she was most proud of how she came back from the injury to win Nationals.
 
The national spotlight first shown on Tuohy when, as an eighth-grader, she anchored North Rockland’s distance medley relay team to an indoor national title in what was then a national-record time.  But it has shown much brighter in the years since as she has amassed wins and national records.  While she “doesn’t mind the limelight occasionally,” it’s not something she seeks and has nothing to do with why she runs, Diglio indicated.  “Running is still a joy for her. It’s still the favorite part of her day,” he said.  And that will likely remain the case long-term.
 
In 2018, Tuohy's remarkable potential fostered New York Times speculation on her future. Diglio, who is also her advanced placement U.S. History teacher, has endeavored to keep Tuohy in check while guarding her progress. “My role so far has been to try to put the brakes on, so she doesn’t do too much,” he said. “She has an unbelievable work ethic; I’ve never seen anything like it." He feels her academic diligence is as important as her athletic accomplishments.
 
Tuohy is taking three AP courses, in physics, computer science, and U.S. history—which is taught by Diglio. “I have him first period, so I can’t come in late for school,” Tuohy deadpans. “That’s a little bit of a bummer.” She tries not to let her homework cut into her sleep, and Tuohy said she gets to bed as soon as it’s done each night.
 
A shy person, Tuohy has at times found the spotlight to be difficult. But this year she’s handling it better, her coach said. “At times it can get to her, because there is a lot of it, there is a lot of attention,” Diglio said. “She’s really good. She takes pictures with tons of kids, she’ll sign autographs, do the interviews. It’s a lot to ask of a high school kid. “The big change that I’ve seen in her this year really is her maturity,” he continued. “Last year I felt that at times it got overwhelming for her. And this year, that’s barely happened at all. That’s impressed me so much.”

Tuohy agrees. “It’s nice to see people who recognize my success and want to take pictures and everything,” she said. “They always have nice things to say. Sometimes when I’m trying to warm up or mentally prepare (for a race), it’s a little difficult having people come up to me and everything, but it’s all positive.”

Last year, North Rockland was hit hard by snow, and the runners on the team shoveled the track five or six times. Boys and girls, Tuohy with them, and their coach gave them hot chocolate afterward. This year the weather has been milder. But Tuohy’s favorite part of each day and week is still when she’s a regular kid at practice, hanging out with her teammates.

Observers of track know it can be difficult for high school phenoms to keep improving consistently as they move on to college and beyond. Other fast high school girls, like Cain, who signed with Nike after she graduated and never raced for a college team, have had trouble achieving the same level of success they did as teens and suffer from burnout or injuries.
But what alternative is there?
 
Once a week, Tuohy runs a 10-miler. She usually does it alone on the roads around the school, although if her older brother is home from college, he’ll keep her company. She prefers cross-country season, when she can do her long runs on trails, but it’s always one of her favorite workouts of the week. Her coach says it’s good for her training—and her head.
 
“She’s a tremendous talent,” Diglio said. “She’d be a tremendous talent if I just had her jog 20 miles a week and still put her out on the track. She’d put up fast times. What are we supposed to do? When she runs a race, tell her, ‘You’ve got to jog; you can’t race?’”   His overriding goal in coaching her, he said, has been her safety and well-being, with the goal of passing her on to college and having her develop further at the NCAA level than she has in high school.
 
“I also don’t think that there’s a whole lot you can do about it other than trying not to overrace her and trying not to work her out too hard,” Diglio said. “At the same time, she wants to be great. If you have an athlete with a burning desire to be a great athlete, it’s your duty as a coach to try to help them achieve their goals.”
 
Tuohy wants to run in college and plans to start visiting schools this summer.  Then she'll have one final season of high school cross-country and two of high school track.  "I'm excited to see what comes next," Turak said, echoing the thoughts of many.
 
 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

FFF (the Future is Female Follow-up)

If you weren't already nodding off during the incredibly boring Super Bowl, you may have missed a couple of very significant "Female Firsts" during the #NFL100 commercial: 

Samantha "Sam" Gordon, appeared in the NFL's 100th Season Superbowl LIII commercial.  Sam was one of three women in the commercial and the only one without a direct tie to the league.  And if you blinked, you may have missed Official Sarah Thomas and announcer Beth Mowins

So why is Sam Gordon's appearance in the #NFL100 commercial so significant?  Sam, the only female player featured among the NFL greats passing around a golden football during Sunday night's Super Bowl commercial, is the winner of the league’s inaugural Game Changer award.  Let that sink in for a minute.  A 15-year old girl from Salt Lake City is the recipient of the National Football League's Game Changer award. 


Gordon, who turns 16 this month, made history in 2015 when she and her father launched the Utah Girls Tackle Football League – the first of its kind – spurring the creation of similar all-girls leagues in Indiana, Georgia and Canada. 

“I was going to a middle school to give a speech about working hard and I asked the question ‘how many girls here would like to play tackle football?’ And it seemed like almost every hand in the room went up,” Gordon said in a video released by the NFL this past weekend featuring her story. “There’s this many girls at this one middle school, how many are there in Utah? In the entire nation? And the world? And next spring, we had a league up and growing."
The first 50 spots for players is said to have filled up in less than a day, and the league has since grown to include nearly 400 female athletes.

“Sam is a game changer because she is shining a light on football so that girls can feel that ‘I’ve been wrong, I have a seat at the table and I was born with that right,'” her father, Brent, says in the video.

Gordon is now trying to start an all-girls football team at her high school.

Sam (born February 21, 2003) is a running back from the Salt Lake City area whose abilities as a football player gained her acclaim when she was just nine years old.

In 2012, while regularly playing against all-male teams (competing with some players who were up to twice her weight), Gordon compiled 25 touchdowns and 10 extra point conversions on 232 carries for 1,911 rushing yards in a single season, averaging 8.2 yards per carry.  In addition, Gordon recorded 65 tackles for the season while playing defense.    2012 was her first year playing football.

On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, Gordon's father uploaded a highlight video to YouTube that by Thursday of that week had generated nearly 5 million views.  His recording of her football prowess has garnered attention from various news outlets, as well as the National Football League.

Gordon has stated that she will continue playing football for one or two more years, then switch over to soccer, where her passion for athletic competition really lies. In the meantime, she has appeared on Good Morning America, tackled Marshall Faulk on the set of the NFL Network, huddled up with the San Francisco 49ers at practice, and gained the attention and praise of U.S. soccer stars Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm. 49ers running back LaMichael James and former NFL player, Super Bowl MVP, and Heisman winner Desmond Howard both jokingly stated that she should win the Heisman Trophy. She was featured on a Wheaties cereal box, the company stating that she was chosen because she is an inspiration to young girls. She is the first female football player to appear on a Wheaties box.  Let that sink in for a minute too. 

Gordon was invited to attend Super Bowl XLVII by the NFL as the guest of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. During the Super Bowl weekend, Gordon was a guest blogger for espnW, performed a skit during the NFL Honors award show with Alec Baldwin, attended the Commissioner's press conference and media day, and watched the game in the Commissioner's suite with high ranking political figures and well-known football personalities. Gordon was also featured in an NFL Evolution commercial that aired during the game.

Following the Super Bowl, Gordon attended the Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards show during which she won a Game trophy for Most Viral Player.

Sam's football story and the experiences she had following the posting of her YouTube highlight video were the inspiration for the NFL's Together We Make Football contest.
Gordon was featured in an NFL commercial that kicked off the contest by asking football fans to share their football stories with the NFL.

With the help of her neighbor, Gordon wrote a book, Sweet Feet: Samantha Gordon's Winning Season, about her football season and the experiences she had following the season, appearing on Conan and Fox and Friends to promote the book.

In 2015, the first known all-girls tackle football league in America, the Utah Girls Tackle Football League, was formed; Gordon was a founding member.

In June 2017, Sam and her father joined together with five other Utah Girls Football League players to sue three different school districts in the Salt Lake City area and force them to offer female American football as a varsity sport. The Title IX-based lawsuit was filed June 23.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Gung Hay Fat Choy

 
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